The Hits Keep Coming For Rachel Hollis

And that noisy sea of self-help gurus doesn’t seem to be dying down anytime soon.

Shannon Ashley
Apr 30 · 10 min read
The viral photo that launched Hollis Co. | Facebook

I’ll admit it. I took a break from all of the Rachel Hollis mess and totally missed the latest Instagram posts from her business account.

First, they made an announcement on April 16 that the upcoming RISE Women’s Weekend that was supposed to happen May 14–16 was postponed until Labor Day Weekend. So Rachel can “take the necessary time to listen, learn, and do the work to make real and genuine change.”

Then, they posted an image declaring “Our Commitment to You” just last week. In that post, the company said they’d “foster community” and “listen to all voices.”

Meanwhile, Rachel hasn’t updated her Instagram account, her Facebook page, or her website — and her Tweets are currently protected.

It’s a strange and disjointed strategy, particularly when her company’s Instagram account has far fewer followers than she does. For years, Ms. Rachel Hollis has been the face, voice, and brand of her business. When she fails to put on a united front with her own company, I can’t help but wonder exactly where Rachel and HoCo will go from here.

That’s not to say she doesn’t still have lots of rabid fans — a quick run through the comments tells me that they’re still there.

Comments for msrachelhollis on Instagram
Comments for msrachelhollis on Instagram

A lot of fellow white women seem to be especially worried about Rachel lately because her ex-husband, Dave Hollis, “moved on so quickly.”

To a certain degree, I get what those fans are saying. Divorce is rarely easy and regardless of the circumstances, it’s completely natural and human that she might be feeling like a mess these days knowing that her ex seems pretty damn happy with a different social media influencer.

Um, yeah.

Birds of a feather, huh?

Mr. Dave Hollis has been sharing an awful lot of Instagram love with fitness guru Heidi Powell.

I guess, for me, it’s a little bit weird. not that people shouldn’t find happiness and all of that, but I’m just thinking about how strange it must be for their kids to be surrounded by… influencers.

Frankly, I find it sort of strange how Dave talks so much about walking into his calling. I suppose he means that as a coach but come on, now. “Coach” at this level of fame is still just another word for influencer. And he only walked into this calling because his ex-wife pulled him into it.

Before joining her thing he was a Disney executive.

Now?

Well, you’ve almost got to hand it to him. He’s handling social media a helluva lot better than Rachel. But then again?

I also sort of wonder if some of his posts aren’t just… trolling her a little. Here’s something he posted while I was working on this story.

Sure, I’m reading too far into it, but… it still feels a bit ironic (or oddly fitting) considering how Rachel Hollis lost her husband and a pretty good chunk of business over this past year.

It also didn’t slip past me that he posted a reading list with “How to Be an Antiracist” by Ibram X Kendi. A few days earlier, he also posted this:

That one doesn’t seem especially “trolling” but you’ve got to admit he (or his team) does know how to one-up Ms. Hollis. I mean, he was able to have a conversation about self-care without sounding excessively privileged. He did call self-care, recovery, rest, and grace mandatory without a mention that some folks really don’t get to choose those things, but… he did it without being super offensive at the same time.

At any rate, I can’t begin to imagine what Rachel Hollis is thinking or feeling through her social media silence. Is she… embarrassed? Is she angry? Is she still completely clueless about what’s so bad about her behavior? Or is she just focused on everything she’s lost, including Dave?

We don’t know those answers because Rachel for all of her “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” and get real language doesn’t seem able to let people in. Which somehow, makes her latest fall from grace feel even stranger. It’s disappointing that she ever even got so far on toxic messages, half-truths, and, of course, plagiarism.

This particular fall from grace just received another hit, however. The New York Times published a story chronicling the whole shebang — well, most of it — called “Girl, Wash Your Timeline.”

The NYT screenshot

Katherine Rosman did a great job writing the story although she didn’t touch too much of the plagiarism. And to be fair, Rachel hasn’t addressed much of those issues either.

Today’s article pointed out plenty of other pertinent information, however, about the crash and burn. Neither Rachel nor Dave chose to give a comment on the article, but Noelle Crooks, 27, who once took charge of the Rise conferences and products, had plenty to say.

According to Ms. Crooks, Rachel “would go from being silly and talking about peeing in her pants to walking into the office in sunglasses, not saying hello to anyone.”

At a Rise Business conference, attendees claimed that Rachel told them she could compel them to purchase anything she recommended.

“I own you,” is what she reportedly told them.

Any way you spin that, it’s not great.

Rachel’s words in the NYT story were hardly inspirational. Former employees also said Rachel told them as proof she loved her job: “I am so rich, I could just retire to Hawaii and never work a day again, that’s how wealthy I am.”

I can’t imagine that having any of these statements outed by The New York Times felt particularly good. And perhaps, to add insult to… injury, the story announced that former Rise employee Noelle Crooks has her first book debut this August.

It’s a novel heavily inspired by her own… experiences, called My Life With The Mogul. That’s right, folks, apparently, the next The Devil Wears Prada is coming from the Hollis Company itself.

Here’s the blurb:

Ever since college, Harper has started her day the same. Waking up each morning and writing a quote from her idol Charlotte Green on a sticky note and placing it on her mirror. So, when she lands her dream job in New York working for Charlotte, Harper doesn’t think twice about moving across the country, knowing this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity will change everything. Along the way, she meets dynamic characters like Oliver, a gay man who acts as her mentor and sounding board, and Bella, her social media-obsessed coworker who has been at The Green House for years. But soon after she starts this once-in-a-lifetime role, she quickly learns that beyond the stages and the crowds cheering, there is a dark side to working in the limelight. In this story, Harper must hold up a mirror to her values when faced with lies, deceit, and manipulation. My Life With The Mogul is a coming-of-age story that shares the reality of what happens behind closed doors… because when the curtains are pulled back, Harper learns the true price of meeting your heroes.

So, who do you imagine might play the Hollis-ish character if the book becomes a movie?

Maybe Amy Adams. Or even Anna Kendrick…

But, I digress.

According to Noelle, “My name might be on the cover but this story is not unique to me. It’s simply shedding light on the shared experiences that so many of us have. In a world run by social media, it’s hard to ever really know what — or more importantly — who is real.”

In a way, that sounds intriguing, but when I flipped through Noelle’s Instagram account, I was a little bit confused.

Perhaps you can forgive me for judging a book by its cover, but I was surprised to see her account is such a slice of curated perfection. Based on her comments about the Hollis Co., her comments about the novel, and mentions of marginalized people, I think I was expecting her Instagram to give off less of a…glamor and money vibe?

noellecrooks on Instagram

Well, now I feel like a jerk and I wonder if I’m just jaded about influencers in general.

But then again… why not?

Of course, we’re getting jaded about twenty-somethings with highly curated social media feeds featuring their travels in France and gushing about book launches.

There’s that part of it that simply feels like this is some sort of a Rachel Hollis successor. As in, sure, right now she talks about the realities of meeting your hero and how you never really know who somebody is behind social media. That all sounds reasonable and legit.

I still don’t know if I can get over the damn “perfect” vibes. When I see accounts like this, I wonder who this person’s going to be in 10 years.

I suppose that’s a big part of what bothers me with Rachel Hollis even now. I think a lot about how she “came to power” and why she stayed there so long despite the obvious problems.

She’s taken a big fall over the past month or so — a real humdinger — but who’s going to come along and take her place?

In some ways, Dave has sort of done it. And that’s problematic too. I noticed this evening that he’s coaching over at Growthday. Now, bear with me because here I go again looking at the images… but please, look at the images.

So, these folks are supposedly the “world’s most influential personal growth and wellness teachers?”

There are other words for influential, you know, and they’re not all good. Like persuasive, convincing, or controlling. To be influential, you don’t even need to be doing any actual good at all.

You only need to look like you’re doing it.

Call me crazy, or hey, call me a jerk, but doesn’t the Growthday website seem very wealthy, white, and cookie-cutter successful with a little bit of “token diversity” added for good measure?

All of this just leaves a very bad taste in my mouth — like we cannot afford to be so complacent by continuing to give social media influencers center stage.

It makes me think of something I saw on Rachel’s dormant Instagram feed.

It’s a bit ironic, but look over to the right side of this image.

msrachelhollis on Instagram

She said, “You can accidentally create something you do not want to happen.” And then she did a little IGTV video about that and The Law of Attraction.

Little did she know what she’d accidentally create when she posted that video. She soon became her own cautionary tale.

And for whatever reason, I can’t seem to get that line out of my head, because it might just be the most relevant thing I’ve ever heard her say.

It’s also a little bit like… be careful what you wish for.

Honestly? I really do wonder if disgraced influencers — or hell, disgraced men like Jerry Falwell Jr .— ever truly grasp those lessons.

Like, do they even get how they got themselves into their mess?

My best guess is that we won’t ever know unless we see them express some real humility about those falls. But true humility is extremely rare, especially on social media.

It’s probably not particularly marketable. This makes me think about where we (the people who respond to marketing) fit into all of this mess.

If we collectively valued better things, I wonder if these types of influencers would even succeed.

After all, that first viral post that shot her into influencer status?

It was her on vacation in Cancun.

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Shannon Ashley

Written by

It's not about being flawless, it's about being honest. 🍵 https://ko-fi.com/shannonashley 📧[email protected]

Honestly Yours

No topic is off-limits, and nothing human is unmentionable. Read on.

Shannon Ashley

Written by

It's not about being flawless, it's about being honest. 🍵 https://ko-fi.com/shannonashley 📧[email protected]

Honestly Yours

No topic is off-limits, and nothing human is unmentionable. Read on.

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